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Which one should you get – Review Geek

  A DeWalt Miter Saw and a Saw Stop miter saw over a VS battleground.
Denys Koltovskyi / Shutterstock

When setting up a workshop, you can choose between two common power tools: table saws and miter saws. The two saws have a lot in common and some crucial differences. If you choose one, you need to know these differences.

Table and miter saws are ideal for cutting wood and other materials. They are also able to perform more advanced cuts such as angles and even chamfers. But how they physically cut is different for both saws, and these differences are important for their performance as well as for their safety.

Miter saw blades move to the wood

  A DeWalt miter saw is tilted and angle to cut through the bottom molding.
Here a miter saw moves down at an angle to make a bevel cut. DeWalt

Miter saws and table saws are both based on a rotary blade concept, similar to a circular saw. It is even possible to use the same blade in both tools (which is generally not the case). But where the leaf is physically located and how you use it is different between the two tools.

A miter saw holds the leaf down with its teeth down. You lay your wood or other material underneath and then bring the spinning blade onto the wood. A table saw holds its leaf with its teeth up in the table. If you imagine a circular saw standing upside down on a table, this is the basic concept. Instead of moving the spinning blade onto the wood, move the wood into the blade.

For beginners, this difference in design makes the miter safer. Instead of forcing your limbs and fingers against a rotating blade, move the blade down in a predictable manner. That makes it easy to keep your arms out of the way.

Table saws, on the other hand, require knowledge of concepts such as kickback, three pressure points, and the proper use of safety equipment such as printing blocks and printing blocks. A kickback occurs when the table saw blade picks up trapped wood (or other material) and possibly throws it at you. This leads to serious injuries. Although kickback can occur on a miter saw, it is less likely. As such, table saws are inherently more dangerous than miter saws with more room for error.

Table saws are more versatile.

  A man feeding a large piece of plywood to a DeWalt table saw.
A miter saw could never cut a piece of plywood like this. DeWalt

With a miter saw you can perform three types of cuts: cross sections, miter cuts and miter cuts. Cross passages shorten a long piece of wood. Miter cuts are angled cuts that connect two pieces of wood, such as the corner of your door frame, or a picture frame. Bevel cuts resemble miter cuts, but appear at a different angle.

The bevel cut allows two high pieces of wood to be joined together, as is the case with the baseboards in your home. To miter, rotate the blade from left to right, holding it straight up and down. To chamfer, tilt the blade to the left or right to the side. It is possible to cut miter and bevel at the same time.

For most woodworking projects, cross cuts and miter cuts are the two most common cuts you make. However, some types of projects may require additional options, such as a table saw.

In addition to all the above cuts, you can use a table saw to cut, re-saw and create studs. A rip cut makes the wide board narrower. Depending on your blade height and the size of the board, a table saw can also re-cut wood to split a thick board into two thin boards.

A French cleat looks like a combination of longitudinal and miter cuts. To do this, a narrow strip of wood is taken and cut at a 45-degree angle in length (which makes it even narrower). The two interconnected boards are a powerful and versatile mounting point commonly used to hang cabinets. You screw a board to the wall, the other to a cabinet and then put the cabinet on the wall piece.

So, what should you get?

If you are new to woodwork and develop your skills, you should probably consider a miter saw. While not as powerful as a table saw, it is less prone to setbacks and generally safer to use. You can also do the two most common cuts that you probably need.

And while you can cross material with both table saws and miter saws if you have very long wooden boards (eg 10 feet or more), it is better to use a miter saw. That's because you do not have to push back and forth when cutting a 10-foot board. And when you open your first store, miter saws are generally cheaper than table saws.

However, if you want to do more complicated projects, a table saw is a good choice. It can do everything a miter saw can do and more. This includes miter cuts! A miter saw is also limited in the width of the part to be cut (depending on the size of the saw blade that uses your saw).

Table saws do not have this limit as you push the wood through the saw. As long as you learn the correct cutting techniques, they are relatively safe and can do a short job in large jobs.

In the long run, you might want both, as miter saws are better for quick, repeated table cross-sections. Saws are great for more complicated cuts that require precision.

However, if you only need to select one, a miter saw is a good starting point.

The best miter saws

  A matebo miter saw next to a Dewalt miter saw.
Matebo, DeWalt

We have already treated miter saws, and our general recommendations remain the same. Look for the blade size when looking for a miter saw. 10-inch blades are the most common and cost less than a 12-inch blade, but limit your ability to cut across. With a sliding miter saw you can cut even wider boards. Look for a fold-out fence and either a dust collection bag or a vacuum system connection. Some miter saws contain a laser guide, but these usually cost more than they are worth.

Metabo is the new name for Hitachi and they have been making reliable power tools for years. This motorized miter saw has a 10-inch blade that is suitable for most people. It also has a fold-out fence for longer pieces of wood and a clamp to secure the material.


If you need to cut anything larger than 10 inches, the DEWALT miter saw is just the thing for you trick. Not only does it have a 12 "blade, but you can also pull it in your direction and then push it back to cut a total of 16 inches into the material. As with the Metabo, you get a fold-out fence, and although it is not supplied with a clamp, you can secure the wood with your own clamp.

Best Overall

The Best Table Saws

  A DeWalt table saw and Saw Stop table saw side by side.

Table saws are available in various form factors, from portable "construction site" saws to large industrial cabinets. The latter take up a lot of space and are not designed for movement, but are more powerful and offer better ways to catch dust.

If you buy a table saw, you should pay attention to the rip fence. Fence fences are crucial for straight noses. Very cheap saws usually have lower fences and are often inaccurate. You should also pay attention to the blade size and security features. Each table saw should be delivered with a splitting knife and a blade guard. If you miss these two components on a used table saw, skip them. Your fingers will thank you later.

The compact table saw DeWalt DW745S is ideal if you do not have a lot of space in the workshop. And if necessary, you can move it to a remote location for remote projects. If you need to cut larger pieces such as plywood, the fence will slide out to a maximum of 20 inches. This version comes with a detachable stand. If you prefer, you can skip this to save a little money.

Overall, Best

The first thing you notice about sawstops is a dramatic price increase. But if you can afford it, these table saws are worth the price. In addition to high-quality fencing and surfaces, the Saw Stop has a technology that protects your fingers in accidents.

The saw lets electrical current flow through its saw blade. When your skin comes in contact with the blade, changing the charge triggers the safety system. In 5 milliseconds, a brake snaps in, stopping the blade and pushing it away from your finger. At the same time, the system prevents the motor from driving the blade. That could make the difference between a nasty cut and a missing finger. Here is a video demonstration:

After the safety system has tripped, you must replace the saw blade and brake system to return to service.

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